As I nursed my own aching and raw hurt, so many of my friends and colleagues expressed the same sentiment, “I feel like someone has died.” The mood yesterday (at least in my community) was funerary, grief-ridden, and I approached the world in mourning.
Yesterday I did some writing, but thought to myself that I should keep political opinions off of my blog. I realized though, talking to mom last night, who has waited, and hoped, and fought, for years, for even a glimmer of equality between men and women, that this is not, ‘talking politics,’ whatever that means, this is talking about my life.
When Donald Trump was elected, so many of my hopes for the future and my excitement at the progress we had made as a nation did truly die. My trust in humanity has even faltered. And reading the comments of my friends expressing their fears and sorrows on Facebook, reminded me that this is not just a scary time for me as a woman, it’s a scary time for me as a person with Type 1 Diabetes. With the passage of the ACA, I felt recognition, that I was no longer a person who would be stigmatized for having a ‘pre-existing condition.’ As if any of us are a tabula rasa who signs up for healthcare without any history of illness or health-related needs. ‘Pre-existing condition,’ was a label that made me feel dirty, tainted, somehow broken. It reminded me of that feeling I had hours after my diagnosis, hooked up to IVs, thinking to myself that no one would want to be with me now that I had diabetes, now that I was damaged goods.
I, like so many Americans, am damaged goods in Donald Trump’s eyes. As a friend of mine put it, under this administration we women are worthless save for our reproductive parts. (I would add that even those are only viewed as worthwhile if they are put to use). As a person, who is a woman, who has Type 1 diabetes, and who views the word ‘community’ to mean that although we are all autonomous individuals, the pain and discrimination that my friends are feeling because of the ways that this administration labels them as damaged hurt me too, I am wounded but am not giving up. And so instead of keeping politics off of my blog, I insist on having a space to speak for equality. Again and again in my life, I come back to the words that give me hope in light of injustices: “The tongue may be an unruly member, but silence poisons the soul.” Don’t be silent. Don’t be defeated. Be disappointed, but keep going. Strive to be thoughtful and compassionate and caring for each other.